Police investigating the deaths of four people in a house fire have said they cannot rule out the blaze being linked to the murder of a man in a nearby street.

The four - whose details have not been released - died after emergency crews were called to the terraced property in Leicester.

Police and firefighters attended the burning building at Wood Hill, in the Spinney Hills area, around 12.35am, several hours after a man was attacked half a mile away in Kent Street. The victim, in his 20s, was assaulted at around 5.30pm and was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary where he died.

A Leicestershire Police spokesman said: "Police were called at around 12.35 this morning by the fire service following a report of a fire at a house on Wood Hill, Leicester. On attendance it was reported that occupants were still inside the property and four people were found deceased in upstairs bedrooms.

"The fire, which caused extensive damage to the property, was extinguished by the fire service and the property has been cordoned off to allow for a full forensic examination. The circumstances and cause of the fire are currently under investigation and officers would ask anyone who has any information regarding the incident to please contact them.

"We are unable to rule out at this stage if this incident is linked to anything else we are investigating."

A post-mortem examination is due to take place on the murdered man and Detective Chief Inspector Simon Cure said the investigation was "in its very early stages".

Diogo Mascarenhas, 78, a neighbour, said: "There were flames shooting out of the back of the house into the yard which I could see from my bathroom window 40 yards away. I looked outside and saw lots of people watching what was going on, the fire brigade, the police and ambulance.

"It looked very serious and I was worried the fire would spread because flames can spread through the roof of terraced houses. I'm sad about what happened but I didn't know the family myself.

"We are all different communities: I am Goan, I think the family with the fire were Muslims from the way they dressed, there are Hindus and there is a Jamaican lady - there is not much communication between all of us. We don't say more than hello to each other because we can't communicate because we are speaking different languages."